Skip to main content

About this Show

This Week With George Stephanopoulos

News/Business. Political guests and viewpoints. New. (CC)

NETWORK
ABC

DURATION
01:00:00

RATING

SCANNED IN
San Francisco, CA, USA

SOURCE
Comcast Cable

TUNER
Channel 74 (525 MHz)

VIDEO CODEC
mpeg2video

AUDIO CODEC
ac3

PIXEL WIDTH
1280

PIXEL HEIGHT
720

TOPIC FREQUENCY

America 15, Afghanistan 11, Pentagon 9, Chuck Hagel 8, Paul Krugman 7, Hagel 7, Us 7, Iran 7, Biden 6, United States 6, U.s. 5, Jack Lew 5, Reed 4, Washington 4, Richard Haass 4, Chuck 4, Martha 4, Peggy Noonan 4, Dell 3, Newtown 3,
Borrow a DVD
of this show
  ABC    This Week With George Stephanopoulos    News/Business. Political  
   guests and viewpoints. New. (CC)  

    January 13, 2013
    8:00 - 9:00am PST  

8:00am
our powerhouse roundtable with paul krugman, "the wall street journal's" peg noone, america's last comptroller david walker, judy woodruff from pbs and al hunt. hello again. lots to get to this morning including the treasury department's decision late yesterday to bury the idea that a trillion dollar platinum coin could solve the debt limit stalemate. advocate paul krugman and our roundtable ready to weigh in on that but first the national security debate with our panel of experts and policymakers including bob corker, democratic senator jack reed, who just returned from his 14th trip to afghanistan, council on foreign relations president richard haass, author of the forthcoming book "foreign policy begins at home" and martha raddatz. martha, let me begin with you. we saw that announcement from
8:01am
the president on friday speeding up the withdrawal of american troops out of afghanistan. that's a little faster than the military wanted, but he was silent on how many troops would be left behind. what's behind the decision, and where do you expect it will end up? >> well, i think all through the election season, all they ever talk about was leaving afghanistan, but this is real. this was a very big deal this week and a very big change. u.s. troops will be in an advise and train -- that's all they'll be doing come spring. >> pulling back from the front lines. >> pulling back from the front lines. they will be with afghan forces. the president has not announced how fast they'll draw down but i suspect by the end of this year we could be down to 30,000 troops. we're 66,000 troops now, possibly down to 30,000 and when we really draw down in 2014, when we are no longer doing combat missions, i think you'll
8:02am
see anywhere from only 6,000 to 9,000 and the important thing to remember about that, george, is two details. tail means the enablers, the support, we would really have if we had 3,000 troops there, we would really have only 800 trigger pullers. you'll see a lot of counterterrorism action, all of those things joe biden talked about a long time ago. i think that's all we'll have there in the future. >> senator corker, are you comfortable with that? >> well, i think the decision about the number of troops we have on the ground after 2014 is something that ought to be weighed as we move along. i realize we're going to be moving down to about 30,000 troops. i'm relatively comfortable with that, but i think as far as what we -- the contingent we have after 2014, i would wait and i don't know of any reason why we would make that decision today. it seems that we'd want to see what the state of afghanistan is. we'd want to see what's happening in the electoral process. all of those things are obviously big factors. my sense is there's no reason to decide whether 6,000, 9,000, 15,000 troops until we get to that point. >> but, senator reed, how about
8:03am
by the spring. to simply training and support by the spring? last month's pentagon report said 1 of 23 afghan battalions is capable of operating on its own. >> i was down in the patyka province, and essentially 87% of the operations in the eastern part are initiated and conducted by afghan forces, so we are already seeing a transition and by next spring the afghani forces will be in the lead. that's what our military has been doing and preparing for the last several months, so i think we're making great progress. there are issues ahead in terms of the election, but ultimately this has to be an afghan-led effort. president karzai recognizes that. i think the military leaders i met, both american and afghan commanders, recognize it also, and there's something about a deadline to sort of coalesce and spear action and actions taking place dramatically in afghanistan today. >> richard haass, the president addressed our overall success in afghanistan on friday and said
8:04am
it was less than ideal and went on to say this -- >> have we been able, i think, to shape a strong relationship with a responsible afghan government that is willing to cooperate with us to make sure that it is not a launching pad for future attacks against the united states. we have achieved that goal. we are in the process of achieving that goal. >> he said we're in the process of achieving that goal. is he right about that and is it sustainable after 2014? >> the short answer is no. what we started in afghanistan after 9/11 was a warranted war of necessity. we expanded it over the years, particularly under president obama in 2009 when we tripled our forces and we decided to go after the taliban, essentially join afghanistan's civil war and nation build. the idea that we're going to be able to leave behind a self-sustaining capable afghanistan able to for a government to keep control of
8:05am
its territory, we're not going to be able to do it. it was a mistake to try. we won't achieve that result. essentially what we'll fall back to is what we could have years ago, a limited mission with trainers and advisers on the ground and when we have to, we'll send in special forces or drones to deal with if there are, for example, remnants of al qaeda who move back into the country. >> the president that wants to run the pentagon, chuck hagel, former senator. here was the president announcing that pick earlier this week. >> i came to admire his courage and his judgment, his willingness to speak his mind even if it wasn't popular, even if it defied the conventional wisdom, and that's exactly the spirit i want on my national security team. >> senator corker, you had some positive things to say about senator hagel when his name was first floated. you said he had
8:06am
good relations on the senate foreign relations committee. do you see anything that should disqualify him from the pentagon post? >> well, i think like a lot of people, the hearings are going to have a huge effect on me. i know i talked to chuck this week. he's coming in to see me next week. but i think the hearings, this is going to be a real hearing process unlike many of the people who end up being confirmed or not confirmed. you know, i have a lot of questions about just this whole nuclear posture abuse. those are things that haven't been discussed yet. obviously people have concerned about his stance towards iran and israel. but i think another thing, george, that's going to come up is just his overall temperament, and is he suited to run a department or a big agency or a big entity like the pentagon and so look -- >> do you have questions about his temperament? >> i -- what's that? >> do you have questions about his temperament? >> i think -- i think there are numbers of staffers who are coming forth now just talking about the way he has dealt with them. i have certainly questions about
8:07am
a lot of things. i begin all of these confirmation processes with an open mind. i did have a good relationship with him. i had a good conversation with him this week, but i think this is one where people are going to be listening to what he has to say, me in particular, about the things i just mentioned, but especially some of the positions he's taken, generally speaking, about our nuclear posture. i think you know that i affirmed the new s.t.a.r.t. treaty. a lot of modernization was supposed to take place on our nuclear arsenal. that's not happening at the pace it should. the pentagon is going to have a big effect on that, and for me, that is going to be a very big issue. >> senator reed, i have not heard those questions about senator hagel's temperament before. i wonder if you have heard anything like that. do you have any concerns like that? i did note that chuck schumer said he's not yet convinced that senator hagel will be confirmed. do you agree with that?
8:08am
>> well, i believe confirmed, i think bob is right. this confirmation process will be a thorough evaluation of chuck's positions and chuck's very capable explaining those positions. i think he brings some unique quality to this job. he is someone who is involved in issues of national security as a united states senator. he's someone who has been involved as a leader of the atlantic council. but i think one thing that's terribly compelling, and it goes to his credibility with the forces, he's been a combat soldier. he's fought. he has literally walked in their boots. that i think will inspire great confidence in the military, also enlisted men that he deals with and women. so i think this situation where he's going to have to answer questions, he's prepared to do it, and i think he'll come out of this with strong support. >> martha, the president emphasized that senator hagel will also be the first enlisted soldier at the head of the pentagon. you talk to the military every day, have been embedded with the
8:09am
troops. how much of a difference do you think that will make that he served as an enlisted soldiers? >> i was in touch with a lot of soldiers last night via facebook and via e-mail, and they said it's great he has combat service but that's not what we're looking at, and this is a military that has so much combat experience and really far more than chuck hagel, so i think they appreciate it, but it doesn't make an enormous difference. the one thing i think is really important here is the next two years, we are going to be bringing a lot of veterans home. that matters. chuck hagel understands that. he understands what it's like to be wounded, and he would probably pay very close attention to that. >> richard haass, the questions are coming at senator hagel from so many different directions, questions about his views on gay rights and israel and heard senator corker about questions from his staff on his temperament.
8:10am
you served in the administration, head of the foreign relations committee. what should be relevant? >> his ability to run the pentagon and views on position and i think there is a space and should be for the hearings and more broadly to ask chuck hagel what is he prepared to do about iran, what does he think the right mix of sanctions or possible use of military force? what should we be doing about cutting the pentagon budget or senator corker said about nuclear issues? all totally legitimate. where i think people are going over the line is how many attacks -- questioning whether he's an anti-semite. i've known him for 20 years. for what it's worth, i think that's preposterous and doesn't have a place in the public space. we often ask why aren't public debates better? why aren't sometimes the best people going into public life? this is one of the reasons. i think there is a legitimate place here and the senate offers it for questioning senator hagel or senator kerry or anyone else about their policies. i really don't think there's a legitimate place in american political life on attacks. these are loaded words being cast about and simply beyond the pale. >> his views on iran and did address that in an interview
8:11am
with his home paper. i want to show what he said about that. he was responding to the question he opposed unilateral sanctions and said "i have not supported unilateral sanctions because when it is us alone, they don't work and they just isolate the united states. united nations sanctions are workling. when we just decree something, that doesn't work." senator corker, let me bring that question to you because i was stuck by an article in foreign affairs" magazine. robert jarvis pointed out the u.s. pointed out with sanctions in places like panama and serbia and afghanistan and iraq, indeed, did not succeed. so does senator hagel have a point there? >> well, there's no question that multilateral sanctions are far more effective when we began the process with iran. one of the amendments that i actually put into that process was to ensure that the sanctions we put in place were much -- multilateral, and what we didn't do was really hurt those people who are friends, the very companies and countries that are
8:12am
our allies, so there's no question that when we put sanctions in place, we need to do everything we can to make sure that they are multilateral. one of the reasons that i want to spend time with chuck hagel is i think as richard haass pointed out, there's been a lot of one-liners, if you will, that have been looked at, and i want to dig in and find out whether that really is chuck hagel's view of the world or whether we're taking these things out of context, but certainly i have concerns as we move forward. they're not disqualifying concerns, and, again, i think the meetings that i have with him, the hearings that will take place are going to be very, very important in his case. >> senator reed, are you confident we can avoid an armed conflict with iran this year over their nuclear program, and what's it going to take to prevent that? >> it's going to take increased pressure, economically, and that's why the issue of multilateral sanctions is so critical.
8:13am
up until we basically listed to president obama, the entire world or significant parts of it in putting pressure on the iranians, they were not at all responsive, we have to continue that pressure. we also have to begin to look very closely at what developing inside iran. they have elections scheduled for june. that is going to perhaps shape the direction -- we hope it will shape it in a positive way that they will back down from their aspirations for nuclear technology and nuclear weapons. but the first issue is keep the pressure on. as the president has said and as chuck hagel will say, we need every option on the table. we have to assess all those options. and one of the things interesting about this issue of temperament there, i know there's a close relationship between the president and chuck hagel. i've traveled with them. i understand it, but i also understand that chuck has the wherewithal and the ability to speak truth to power. he's demonstrated that throughout his entire career. that is a value that is extraordinarily important to the president, and i think he recognizes that, and
8:14am
that willing one of his virtues as secretary of defense. >> senator reed emphasizes pressure but one of the points that robert jarvis makes is get more creative on the carrot you'll offer to iran so there might be some way to have a resolution without a conflict. >> and that's teed up right now. i think these economic sanctions are having far more impact than any of us imagined, and there's a really interesting debate going on in iran, george, one we haven't seen before. the supreme leader is allowing a debate to take place about the nuclear policy and about the economy. this suggests to me the administration can and will go forward with the big negotiation, with the big proposal, and the real question is, can we come up with an approach that's enough for the iranians, and not too much for the united states and the israelis? can we, if you will, park the iranian program out of place that sufficiently far from nuclear weapons status that we can live with it. i don't know, but we want to find out. is either of the alternatives going to war against iran or living within iran that has nuclear weapons are
8:15am
extraordinary unattractive and costly alternatives, so we want to do everything we can to see whether we can come up with a solution through negotiations. >> martha, we're just about out of time, but as we're talking about iran's nuclear program, we're learning that north korea may be planning another nuclear attack. >> yep, there are a lot of signs. i spoke to a u.s. official there, a lot of signs that north korea is planning another test. there are trucks in the area but one of the things is they're doing this very conspicuously. our satellites can see it. they are aware of when our satellites are around, so baffled by this and think it must be just some sort of negotiating tactic of some sort. >> one more, okay, martha, gentlemen, thank you for your time. up next we introduce the new leaders of no labels. can they break washington's gridlock and the powerhouse roundtable on all the week's politics. we'll be back in 60 seconds. ♪
8:16am
[ male announcer ] navigating your future can be daunting without a financial plan. at pacific life, we can give you the tools to help you achieve financial independence. for more than 140 years, pacific life has assisted families and businesses in meeting their goals, even in uncertain economic times. let us help protect the things that you work so hard for. to find out how, visit pacificlife.com. ♪ [ male announcer ] how do you turn an entrepreneur's dream... ♪ into a scooter that talks to the cloud? ♪ or turn 30-million artifacts... ♪ into a high-tech masterpiece? ♪ whatever your business challenge, dell has the technology and services to help you solve it.
8:17am
i'm voting yes. i'm voting yes. >> i don't care. you shoot me dead. i am voting yes. >> edwin f. leclerc. >> no. oh, to hell with it. shoot me dead too. yes. seen there from "lincoln" earned a dozen oscar nominations this week. it shows congress maman clay hawkins and others breaking with their party to owe post slavery. the new chairs of the no label movement, joe manchin and former presidential candidate jon huntsman. thank you both for joining us and, senator manchin, let me begin with you. the motto of no label, stop fighting and start fixing. admirable goals, but what is your specific goal and how do you intend to get there?
8:18am
>> george, basically jon and i were talking about this earlier, you know, i've been there two years in the senate and i have yet to have a bipartisan meeting that's been organized where republicans and democrats in the senate sit down and work through their problems. think about just in the senate we don't have that type of dialogue going on from democrats and republicans. we don't even know our colleagues over in the house. no labels gives us that venue. >> and ambassador huntsman, there's going to be a test of that strategy on so many issues including the issue of preventing gun violence one month after newtown. i was surprised to see there's no mention of that issue on the no labels website. pretty conspicuous in its absence. is that a punt? >> this is not about finding the end point about policy issues but creating a pathway that speaks to problem solving, so the whole attempt here, george, is to create a new attitude that speaks to problem solving. it's not about ideology. it's about extreme partisanship. that's the problem today, so joe and i have come together. we both have a background as governors. we know what it means to make progress for the people you represent. what it means to be problem solvers.
8:19am
so our attempt here, and you ask the specific question about what to do about it, well, you can't do anything about problem solving unless you get a group of people together on capitol hill who are dedicated to putting country first and making decisions that are right for the future as opposed to the next election. >> senator manchin, what does it mean to put country first along this issue of guns. we'll hear from vice president biden. earlier you heard from newtown and you said you hoped to get the nra on board for the effort of trying to come up with a solution. we know that vice president biden is going to talk about universal background checks. we know he's going to talk about some kind of limits on high-capacity gun magazines. how far are you prepared to go and can you bring the nra along? >> george, basically we have a cultural -- we have to change the culture of mass violence we have. if you think it's only about guns and that would change the culture, you'd be wrong. if you think it's only about the lack of mental illness coverage
8:20am
that we give and -- you'd be wrong there, and if you think it's only about the media with the video games, it takes an all-in approach. i have linked up with and i will be with john mccain introducing a bill that joe lieberman, our dear friend, has been championing for a long time putting a commission about mass violence together and bring experts from all different fields and you bring people such as myself that are nra members that have been sportsmen all our lives and look for a commonsense approach to how we change the culture of violence in america. >> are universal background checks common sense? >> all of these things need to be looked at, but if it's all on one piece of legislation and one piece of legislation only, then you get something that's much broader. if you just pinpoint, george, on one and say it's guns, whether it's the magazines or whatever, you're going to have a harder time getting through the political process we have right today. >> so are you saying no action until after this commission report? >> i'm saying that basically you have to have an all-in approach. right now i don't know if you have the professionals from the
8:21am
standpoint sitting down, people like myself who have been using guns all of our lives, people that are in the health care arena that are professionals with mental illness and the lack of care for mental illness and also the video, the media. i would tell all of my friends in nra, i will work extremely hard, and i will guarantee there will not be an encroachment on your second amendment right, the same as i would guarantee that for the first amendment right, but, you know, in this atmosphere we have in washington today, there used to be guilt by association. it's almost guilt by conversation. >> ambassador huntsman, when you try to take on your party's orthodoxy last year during the presidential race and tried to run for president and a lot looked at it and said, boy, it can't be done inside the republican party. do you get any sense that members of your party are going to be receptive to the kind of message you have right now and if you run for president again, can it be as a republican or will it have to be as an independent or another third party? >> well, i'm not worried about myself. i'm worried about my country.
8:22am
we have politics of right and left and center but forgot the most important thing for the american people and that's the politics of problem solving. so getting a bloc of can do problem solvers as we're beginning to do on capitol hill who begin to sit down, whether it's around gun control which is a very complicated issue, joe and i were just talking about this, i mean we've been shooting since we were 5 or 6 years old, we come from cultures of guns, utah and west virginia, and within five minutes, we put together some ideas that probably would represent a good compromise package between republicans and democrats. there's a deal to be had -- >> which includes? >> well, you've got to get problem solvers around the table. >> gentlemen, thanks for your time this morning. good luck with no labels. >> thank you. >> thank you, george. roundtable coming up. so long to the trillion dollar coin, paul krugman and company weigh in next. [ male announcer ] i've seen incredible things. otherworldly things. but there are some things i've never seen before. this ge jet engine can understand 5,000 data samples per second. which is good for business.
8:23am
because planes use less fuel, spend less time on the ground and more time in the air. suddenly, faraway places don't seem so...far away. ♪ woman: we're helping joplin, missouri, come back from a devastating tornado. man: and now we're helping the east coast recover from hurricane sandy. we're a leading global insurance company, based right here in america. we've repaid every dollar america lent us. everything, plus a profit of more than $22 billion. for the american people. thank you, america. helping people recover and rebuild -- that's what we do. now let's bring on tomorrow.
8:24am
a talking car. but i'll tell you what impresses me. a talking train. this ge locomotive can tell you exactly where it is, what it's carrying, while using less fuel. delivering whatever the world needs, when it needs it. ♪ after all, what's the point of talking if you don't have something important to say? ♪
8:25am
the roundtable is coming right up weighing in on the president's team and that platinum coin. >> i say go big or go home. how about a $20 trillion coin or maybe just forget about it. do one of these, i was digging through the couch cushions and president eisenhower must have
8:26am
left this quillion dollar bill laying around. >> this is jack lew's signature, either that or the migratory pattern of a house fly. before that mr. lew worked as hostess as a cupcake icer. ♪ reach one customer at a time? ♪ or help doctors turn billions of bytes of shared information... ♪ into a fifth anniversary of remission? ♪ whatever your business challenge, dell has the technology and services to help you solve it.
8:27am
8:28am
♪ signed sealed and delivered i'm yours." >> you've been a friend and colleague for many years. it was only yesterday that i discovered that we both share a common challenge with penmanship. [ laughter ] >> i had never noticed jack's signature, and when this was highlighted yesterday in the press, i considered rescinding my offer to appoint him. jack assures me that he is going to work to make at least one letter legible. in order not to deface our currency. >> obama having some fun with his new pick for treasury secretary, jack lew. let's talk go that and the
8:29am
serious issues he'll deal with on the roundtable joined by begg from the wall. >> caller: al hunt from the bloomberg view, david walker, and paul krugman of "the new york times" and princeton. i'm going to take a stab at trying to explain this trillion dollar platinum coin issued right at the beginning so we can then debate it. it's rooted in 1997 law. you see the law right there that gave the president the ability to -- the mint the ability to do commemorative platinum coins. what they didn't do is set a limit on how much it could be worth so the idea was you get a coin like this, a mock-up right there. deposit it in the federal reserve. say it's worth a trillion dollars and would extend the debt limit for about a year and the government would be able to go on. the white house earlier in the week did not close the door on this and bubbled up through the blogosphere, but, paul krugman, you got everybody's attention on friday when you
8:30am
wrote in "the new york times" "what we all hope of course is that the prospect of the coin or some equivalent strategy will simply take the debt ceiling off the table. but if not mint the darn coin." 24 hours later, the treasury department said no way. it's not going to happen and closed the doors. make the case for why you were for it. >> the thing you have to understand, the debt ceiling is a fundamentally stupid and -- but dangerous thing. we have congress that tells the president how much he must spend, tells him how much he's allowed to collect in taxes. he says okay there's a difference there. i've got to borrow it. no, you can't borrow it. so the whole debt ceiling thing itself is a crazy thing and forces the president to do something illegal. either to defy congress on what it told him to spend or defy them on borrowing and told him not to and have the weird loophole which everyone agrees is crazy. but is a loophole that says that the secretary of the treasury can mint a coin for any amount which is supposed to be for
8:31am
commemorative pieces but does avoid -- does offer a way to bypass this and all that's really doing is the way to bypass the debt ceiling. it isn't even printing money but saying, hey, we're going to say that we minted the coin. you don't even have to mint the thing, just say you did, right? >> well, you would have to but -- nobody ever has to see it. say we did it and the federal reserve says, okay, you now have a $1 trillion bank account which we will, when you withdraw funds from that, we will sell off some of our government bonds which is just a way of borrowing through the back door but it gets you past the craziness of the debt ceiling. >> that's not going to happen, and ben bernanke weighed in heavily. you've been around it for awhile. >> the debt ceiling is a crazy thing. we need to reform that. we don't want to use it as a political tool. but, you know, the trillion dollar coin is a dumb idea too. two dumb ideas don't make a good one. why would you spend it on buying platinum. i have a few trillion dollar bills here. why would we want to waste money -- >> illegal. >> you're legally allowed to -- you're not allowed to do that. >> not allowed to pass it,
8:32am
that's right. that's right. >> but gets you, peggy noonan, back to the drawing board. and the white house is saying this platinum coin is not going to happen. >> yeah. >> democrats in the senate want the president to examine all kinds of ways around facing this question head on, but it appears that the president has ruled all or most of them out. >> yeah, nobody actually knows what's going to happen. this is about the third -- this is the second debt ceiling crisis we've had in the past few years. we just got through the fiscal cliff thing. it is very strange to live in a great, sophisticated, wealthy, modern democracy and have this herky-jerky crisis cliffhanger thing that is going on and that has been for awhile. look, i am always hopeful for something like a grand bargain but i think that won't happen now. i think we have more loggerheads, more brinksmanship ahead of us. >> the white house position, which is right, is that there
8:33am
should be no bargaining over this. if the republican majority in the house wants to cut spending, let them propose legislation that cuts spending and pass it. not hold america hostage. and saying we -- this rejecting -- >> from the white house. >> -- was a sign of strength, not weakness that we are not bargaining, we are not going to give in but the onus rests firmly on the republicans. they think they mean it. whether they actually do, we'll find out. >> al hunt, in "the wall street journal," karl rove laid out a strategy asking republicans that they should do exactly that. pass the bill, which actually cuts spending by as much as they want to extend the debt limit for. what a lot of people point out if you extend it for a year, a trillion dollars, that's hard
8:34am
to get. 218 votes for. >> karl is about as good here as he was in ohio on election night. peggy's advice was much better than karl rove, the republicans, they can talk all they want to. you know, years ago, george, i had a young -- i was a young reporter, veteran congressman named jimmy burke who said my success here? he said i vote for every tax cut. i vote for every appropriations and i always vote against the debt ceiling. i say, if everyone did that, it would be anarchy. he said, what do you think this place is, on the level? that's what these guys are doing, total, complete fraud and in the end republicans are not going to want to say we'll put the full faith and credit in the united states at risk, so we can cut medicare. that just won't happen. >> that's what people are betting on. >> that's exactly what republicans are betting on. we went to the well. we let the president get what he wanted on the fiscal cliff. but when it comes to the debt ceiling, he's going to have to cough up some spending cuts and they are saying they are prepared to go to the brink on this even if it means, you know, questioning the full faith and credit of the american government. >> but, yeah -- >> look, the republicans need to wake up and get real.
8:35am
we're the only country on earth that has a debt ceiling limit. ultimately as part of a grand bargain we ought to get rid of it and we ought to substitute statutory budget controls and the constitutional credit cart limit, the gdp but in the interim if the republicans wasn't to use leverage they ought to use it on the sequester and continuing resolution. >> right on the heels -- >> we should not allow this to become thought of as a legitimate or normal budget strategy. this is hostage-taking. this is saying walk into a room saying i've got a bomb, give me what i want or i'll blow up this room. this is not something -- this has never happened before and should not be allowed to happen. >> doesn't it mean it will happen now for the first time given the positions that each side has taken and what -- let me ask you, paul krugman, what are the economic consequences of that? >> it's incredibly scary. this is much scarier than the fiscal cliff, much scarier than any of the other things out there because we don't know what it does. what we do know is u.s. government debt is the global safe asset. it is what every financial transaction relies on as the ultimate. this is what value consists of and better than gold, better than anything. u.s. treasury bills are the thing, and if they are no longer, if they're called into question, nobody knows what happens.
8:36am
>> somebody actually agree. >> yes, here's the issue. i used to be a trustee of social security medicare. social security is now negative cash flow. if you hit the debt ceiling limit, you can be at the point where at the beginning of the month, you can't send out social security checks on time. the last tame we got social security reform was 1983. why? because we weren't going to send the checks out on time. let's get real. >> but they are going to back down. that's why in the end they -- sounds great now. >> you think they're definitely going to do it. >> i think he'll go up to the brink and get cold feet and go to the sequester which comes up right after. i think the battle will be waged over that. this is the losing proposition. >> peggy. >> i think it should be noted we have a president. i think it should be noted that he should be sitting down and talking with those who would move -- attempt to move forward -- >> good point. >> -- on spending. i consider it unusual that this president can never make a deal with those folks. >> but this is not something to negotiate over. you do not negotiate with hostage-takers. that's the white house position. they're right about that.
8:37am
you just don't negotiate on this. you can negotiate on the sequester. you can negotiate on taxes but not on someone about to blow up the economy -- >> my goodness. that appeared to be the white house attitude on the fiscal cliff a month or two ago. why can nothing ever be worked out? we do have a president. we do have legislative leaders. we do what should be noted, have a spending crisis in america. it is not an eccentric thing to worry about the amount of spending that america does. the income, the outcome and the long-term promises. >> this is really -- this is a doomsday -- this is really saying, i will blow up the world unless you -- don't negotiate on that. >> and, again, the white house position is, look, congress passed these bills. they're the ones that appropriated this money that we're talking now about cutting back. we're talking about cutting spending and they're saying it's in their yard, they are the ones who need to bite the bullet. >> meanwhile, also ask the broader question of the strategy.
8:38am
peggy noonan, i was struck by your "wall street journal" column yesterday. you say "it's pirate time for the gop, wave a sword, grab a rope and swing aboard the enemy's galleon. take the president's issues, steal them. they never belonged to him. they're yours." elaborate. >> go for it. first of all, don't be the depressed gray-suited gaggle that comes forward in the halls of the house once a day. his speak and sort of in a furtive and sad manner about what's going on. that no great themes ever emerged. nothing ever seems to get said. look, this is a time to remember in a way the joy of politics. the republicans are in a bad position right now. they just lost a big election. they are a bunch of folks in washington. the president is one man with a mike. that man, the president, can always overpower them. my feeling is this is a wonderful time to be daring and surprising. go to the populist right on economic issues, on issues like
8:39am
breaking up the banks and the carried interest loopholes. go for immigration. don't wait for the president. i know. i'm just here to amuse. i have a sense of who funds politics, and maybe that's not a good thing. >> it's not just politics. it's what you do after you leave politics. >> fine. why don't we face that? i mean just when it's pirate time, i mean remember you're there for the people. try to do good stuff. do not giggle. it's no time to be cynical. >> a brilliant -- >> i thought it was a brilliant, a brilliant provocative column. there's not a chance it'll happen because it's a good -- but tea parties ran in 2010. we are anti-wall street. we are against the banks. they got in there. they got in the financial services committee, and guess what, they started getting money from jpmorgan and from morgan stanley and not a single one of them voted against the banks. immigration, why did mitt romney
8:40am
turn into an immigration basher? he never was before, because he went to iowa in 2007, the base, the core, they are going to have a terrible problem with this because their base -- >> except it isn't hard-boiled politics going to push the republicans into working with the president in some fashion immigration. i know marco rubio talking about laying out a step-by-step -- >> for sure on immigration. marco rube yore. there are republicans who say, look at what happened in election 2012. the president got 70% of the -- 71% of the latino vote, the handwriting is more than on the wall. a significant number of republicans want to move, but, george, there are also a lot of republicans who are not ready to move. they can't abide the idea of a pathway to citizenship for those illegal immigrants to get in the country. >> can i note, by the way, the republican base, what you say fairly about the republican base in 2007, 2008, '12 was true. but that not base, not only the party establishment but the base just experienced a big loss. there's a lot of thinking on the
8:41am
republican side about the meaning of this and how to go forward. >> i know you wanted to run on these big financial issues. how is pirate strategy consistent with a get real strategy? >> the biggest deficit the country has is a leadership deficit and the truth is the wings of both parties don't represent america. we have a republic not representative to the public. that's one of the reasons i'm one of the national co-founders of no labels to get that over rhetoric. we do need more leadership over the president and have a plan and push forward with regard to a grand bargain strategy because we desperately need one. we need one in 2013. we may not have until 2015. i'm confident we don't have till 2017. >> coming off the fiscal cliff negotiations and the whole experience with that, is that realistic at all in 2013? >> i think it is realistic if you do three things, one, the president has to demonstrate much more leadership. he's the only one elected by the people. he's the chief executive officer. he's got the bully pulpit.
8:42am
secondly, we need to engage the american people with the facts, the truth, with the tough choices in a way forward. i've done it all over the country, all 50 states. they're way ahead of the politicians. they can handle the truth and willing to accept tough choices and, thirdly, you need to have people work with the president on a constructive basis recognizing that the people want this done. >> let's talk about the president's team right now. because the president did appoint jack lew, the treasury secretary this week leaving a big vacancy as chief of staff and that appeared in "the new york times" showing the president meeting with his economic advisers, seemed like a lot of men, all men, actually valerie jarrett is right in front of the desk. you can see her ankle, i believe. but that plus a lot of questions about the president's team, whether there's sufficient diversity in his cabinet and in his white house including from congressman charles rangel. >> it's embarrassing as hell, we've been through all this with mitt romney, and we were very hard on mitt romney with his women binder, the variety of
8:43am
things, and i kind of think there's no excuse in a second term. >> judy woodruff, the team points out 47% of the administration is still women. about where president clinton was but the appearance of having all white men in those big jobs and eric holder as attorney general did rankle. >> well, and the fact that the president got double-digit support among women, second election in a row, he did very well with the women vote and people look at this administration and not just optics, which you said -- you were talking about something else, the optics, but the reality of the administration. their argument is, hey, we didn't do a great job of getting it done early. we've been distracted with things like the fiscal cliff but when all is said and done, this is an administration that will look like america. having said that, george, maybe they ought to take a line from mitt romney, binders full of women.
8:44am
they need to get moving and there are some jobs that are open and we'll see who they pick. i think we're all watching. >> what happened in the past few days with the women in the white house is all fair. if that had been a republican white house, i think we would agree they would be clobbered for not having enough women. i think the message has probably been received by the obama white house. i think at the end of the day, it's always good to have more women in the room. i suspect they will. >> and, al hunt, one of the other strains of criticism is that the president -- and i guess you want people who agree with you for the most part but the president is choosing from a relatively small pool. pretty interesting that the president, the vice president, the secretary of defense designee and the secretary of state designee all served together on the senate foreign relations committee. >> he turned upside down that concept four years ago. i think the people who he picked are very capable but let me take the economic team for a second. i think jack lew is an enormously capable person as are
8:45am
other people but you know something, george, these people are tired. they are exhausted. they have been through one battle after another. when you talk about hillary clinton being spent, being exhausted so are these people and they're not bringing in any infusion of new people with new ideas. not necessarily replacements but sit at the table and say how about this? and they're now talking about putting denis mcdonough whose sole experience is in foreign policy as the white house chief of staff. there's never been a successful white house chief of staff who did not have washington political experience. >> dennis is on president obama's staff and security adviser -- >> solely on foreign policy and doesn't know political washington, and if they do that, i think it raises questions about -- >> that at no point in this administration have there been serious representation of what you might call the progressive economist wing, which is a pretty big part of obama's support. >> maybe jared bernstein. >> jared bernstein. >> now he's off the list and
8:46am
that's a little surprising, both given who brought him to the party and also the fact that that wing has been right about everything so far. right about interest rates and right about -- i don't have a problem with jack lew. seems like he's a tough negotiator. that's what you need in the treasury -- >> he's been questioned -- >> when you bring it up with the white house, what they say is we do have vigorous debates on the inside. it may look, you know, monolithic from the outside like we're all -- but there are differences. >> they talk to people from outside. >> they do, and they say the president is talking to more people on the outside than -- >> surprising what matters and i think paul's point, they also promise to bring in a corporate ceo if they haven't done that and an eclectic group of people that maybe can inject -- we're having the same familiar faces. >> hard to convince someone to take that job. >> i think al is right, we need to get some new blood in there sitting at the table, makes a big difference. jack is clearly qualified for that job and i believe he will get confirmed but doesn't have good relations with republicans
8:47am
and if you want to get -- >> that does -- >> want to make progress -- no, no, there's differing degrees. if you want to make progress -- >> biden negotiated that deal with senator mcconnell and will issue his report on gun control. there's a remarkable state of the state speech this week including this one from governor dan malloy in connecticut. >> in the midst of one of the worst days in our history, we also saw the best of our state, teachers and a therapist that sacrificed their lives protecting students. and when it comes to preventing future acts of violence in our schools, let me say this, more guns are not the answer. >> peggy noonan, newtown happened one month ago tomorrow. we're going to see and hear from vice president biden on tuesday. but we've been talking about this the last few weeks on the program. every time i talk to a group of senators, it does seem that there is not a lot of sharing of the president's sense of urgency on this issue. >> on capitol hill, you mean?
8:48am
well, look, guns are a very tough topic in america. i do think that if the vice president comes forward with some -- with his report on tuesday that looks at the whole violence problem in a way that includes guns and extended magazines and such, but also how we deal with the mentally ill in america and what to do if you have a 17-year-old kid who appears to be unstable, unviolent, there's a cultural angle to this, and we all know what it is, we all go through the motions on it. we have for 25 years, but a democratic president addressing the cultural part of this would be a little like nixon to china. so if biden has something to say that touches on all those things, i think it would be -- >> i think he'll address all of them. >> what i am told is they are going to put out what they call a comprehensive package that will include legislation, it's
8:49am
going to include executive -- things the executive branch can do on its own and include the assault weapons ban, steps on back -- comprehensive background checks. they're going to look at the mental ill and other steps. they understand they're not going to get all of that but they feel -- i mean, i had one person close to the white house say how can we not try for the assault weapons ban. how can we have another mass shooting come, and, by the way, george, i talked to a southern senator just yesterday who said his son, grown son, happened to be in jacksonville, florida, middle of last week a wednesday morning at 10:00, went into a gun shop to buy his wife a shotgun, 10:00 in the morning, middle of the week. he said the store was filled, five deep with people, stood in line with 20 people or more to buy -- he said, he said ever since sandy hook, there's just been this burst of -- >> all of -- >> -- interest in guns.
8:50am
>> showed that huge, huge spike in sales of assault weapons and we have to take a quick break. another round straight ahead. we'll talk about what will lance armstrong confess to oprah in tomorrow's big interview? we're back right after this. >> catch "this week" online all week at abcnews.com on facebook and twitter. ter. 're on a bunch of shale gas. there's natural gas under my town. it's a game changer. ♪ it means cleaner, cheaper american-made energy. but we've got to be careful how we get it. design the wells to be safe. thousands of jobs. use the most advanced technology to protect our water. billions in the economy. at chevron, if we can't do it right, we won't do it at all. we've got to think long term. we've got to think long term. ♪
8:51am
we've got to think long term. we've got to think long term. i've always had to keep my eye on her... but, i didn't always watch out for myself. with so much noise about health care... i tuned it all out. with unitedhealthcare, i get information that matters... my individual health profile. not random statistics. they even reward me for addressing my health risks. so i'm doing fine... but she's still going to give me a heart attack. we're more than 78,000 people looking out for more than 70 million americans. that's health in numbers. unitedhealthcare. [ male announcer ] how do you turn an entrepreneur's dream... ♪ into a scooter that talks to the cloud? ♪ or turn 30-million artifacts... ♪
8:52am
into a high-tech masterpiece? ♪ whatever your business challenge, dell has the technology and services to help you solve it. e2 . .
8:53am
8:54am
that is all coming up next week. i'm back with our roundtable calling a little audible and move on to lance armstrong. so much more to talk about with guns. peggy noonan, you were saying -- warning the president against them. >> yeah, two things i'd like to say. one is that people are buying guns like crazy now, not because they're not enough because they're angry, but because i really think they fear their country is falling apart. it's defensive, and it's something that i think we all have to be talking about. there's so much anxiety out in america, and they also fear their government. second thing i guess connected to that, leave gun control and gun reform issues in the congress of the united states. the president should not be issuing executive orders in this area. it would really be unwise, and
8:55am
it will cause great problems, i would think. >> george, among other things, i'm a member of the sons of the american revolution, so i obviously support the second amendment, but we do need to take the matter -- we do need to look at this comprehensively and we need to eliminate the loopholes with regard to checks and look at large magazine, ammunition, and, you know, it's hard for me to see how a sportsman needs to go hunting with an assault rifle, okay, but we need to move prudently here. i do agree this is a charged issue and that the president will need to be very, very careful about anything he would try to do. >> if the president doesn't move quickly, nothing is going tol happen. >> right. this is the moment. he has to be seen to be doing something. it is crazy to buy guns now. people are afraid. you know, the reality of life in america, it's safer than it's been in decades. if you walk out of the studio and walk through manhattan, your chance of getting mugged are less than they've been since
8:56am
1960. i mean this is a -- this is an odd thing, this is a mental state, not about the reality of america. >> no. >> big revelation is we've realized -- i didn't know -- that the nra is no longer about gun owners. it's actually representing the firearms industry, and that's something we've learned so -- >> because the gun owners are supporting a lot of these proposals coming from vice president biden. 20 seconds left. >> it's always safe to beg against gun control. the passion and the nra is always there. there's something that may be different this time. gabby giffords has started. she's going to raise a lot of money. the principal owner of my company, mr. bloomberg has deep pockets. i am told they will spend a lot of money. you have to wage a campaign, and you have to take on the nra and that could happen this time. >> and the newtown families are coming out tomorrow with a proposal, as well. thank you all very much. that was terrific and now we honor our fellow americans who served and sacrificed. this week the pentagon released the name of one soldier killed in afghanistan. and finally "your voice"
8:57am
this week, tina jo evans asks, "george, no updates on robin. sure do miss that girl. any idea when she's coming back yet? robin has been getting stronger every day and passed that 100-day mark from her bone marrow transplant with flying colors and we'll have news about her recovery straight from robin herself live on "gma" tomorrow. keep your fingers crossed. if you have a question, send it in on twitter @gstephanopoulos and paul krugman is sticking around to answer your tweets for this week's web extra. that's all for us. check out "world news" with david muir tonight and i'll see you tomorrow on "gma."
8:58am
>> in the news this sunday, the day the hockey team has been waiting for. they are set to return to the ice. we will have a full report. and 49 ehrhoff fever starts spreading following last night's big win. >> there are warmer locations around the bay and of a several hours of sub freezing temperatures, we're beginning to that you out.
8:59am